The Impact Of Immigration On The United States

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In the late 19th century the United States experienced a wave of immigrants looking for work and/or escaping worsening conditions in their home countries. These immigrants, predominantly received through Ellis Island on the East Coast, would settle down in larger urbanized cities such as New York and Chicago. This was partially due to the amount of available jobs and housing, but also because of the appeal of staying close to other families from their homeland. By gathering in these communities they were able to keep their traditions alive through things such as native language and religion. However, since many of the immigrants were low income households, the communities were largely forced to live in poverty-level housing and provided with almost no social services by the federal government. It was this need for welfare that enabled political urban machines to rise in power. By providing support such as jobs and services to impoverished immigrant communities, these organizations thrived off of the loyalty, and therefore votes, that they received in return. Historical Background Although the amount of people living in cities had vastly increased since the late 18th century, the representation for cities in state legislature and congress did not increase to reflect this change in dynamic. By 1870, 44% of New York City’s population was made up of immigrants, while San Francisco’s was at 49% (Donovan). With this increase in population came the need for an increase in social
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